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Marketing Internships: The First Step in Your Marketing Career

Marketing interns having a creative meeting at the office



If you’ve been considering a summer internship, now is the best time to get the ball rolling–especially if you’re interested in a future marketing career. Employers often identify internship experience as a differentiator when choosing between two equally qualified applicants, and 56% of interns and 40% of co-op students manage to leverage their temporary opportunities into full-time, entry-level hires.

Marketing internships are a great way to open the door to a full-time job in marketing and start a prospering career. Whether you’re currently studying marketing or just looking to make a career change, knowing a bit about the positions and how best to acquire them can save you a lot of time and (hopefully) help you skip the queue as you apply for available openings.

What Marketing Interns Do

We all know what a great marketing campaign looks like. What we may not know is how those campaigns get built in the first place. In their roles, marketing interns will have a front-row seat to the entire process.

In your marketing internships, you’ll gain skills in communication, quantitative/qualitative research, creation and creativity of campaigns, and understanding and empathizing with your audience. Internship opportunities for marketing students can foster great exploration of the field since there are so many paths in marketing to consider and understand.

Of course, any responsibilities will vary greatly depending on which type of internship you’re looking for:

In addition, when it comes to practical work, interns most often find themselves performing important but time-consuming (and often menial) tasks:

  • Performing clerical duties
  • Conducting research
  • Compiling statistics
  • Fact-checking
  • Observing experts
  • Scheduling social media posts.
  • Writing meta descriptions and tagging online content
  • Choosing stock photos
  • Setting up rooms for meetings

Even paid internships generally offer their marketing interns these types of tasks, since these programs are designed to help you gain marketing experience in a low-stakes environment. Additionally, while this may not sound immediately enticing, the value in the internship isn’t necessarily in the sort of work you’re asked to do; the value is in gaining experience and observing that actual workplace dynamic.

How Much Marketing Interns Make

The average base salary for marketing intern jobs in the USA can vary wildly depending on a number of circumstances. While interns at top-tier companies such as Facebook or Boeing could look to earn between $4,000-$8,000/month, most internships at mid-range corporations pay considerably lower, generally by the hour. Some internships are even unpaid.

Again, marketing internships are designed to be short-lived, offering a real-world experience to those who have, up to this point, worked mostly from the realm of theory. What’s more, landing an internship is less about the starting salary and more about the marketing experience you will gain along the way and the future job opportunities the internship could open for you.

Focusing Your Search for a Marketing Internship

Looking for the best internship opportunities can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start.

While you’re free to simply type get marketing internship into Google and start your process there, we advise against it as a first step. Before you cast a wide net, be sure to narrow your search parameters to the types of internships that will most interest you and give you the best leg up in your future chosen career path.

What particular area of marketing interests you the most?

Concentrate your search first in those areas.

  • Interested in attracting and delighting customers? Focus on inbound marketing.
  • Have a gift for online promotion? Check out social media marketing.
  • Want to flex your writing skills? You may have a knack for content marketing.

a marketing intern proposing her ideas during a team meeting

Do you have any “dream companies” where you’d love to land a marketing internship?

Why not shoot for the moon?

Or go for agencies like an ASO marketing agency. They could always say no, but they just might say yes! You’ll never know unless you try. So, why not go for it?

Ideally, which state (or region) would you most like to live in while you complete your internship?

Whether you need to stay close to home for a particular reason or would like to take the chance to expand your horizons, now’s your chance to see what’s available in those specific areas.

Would you be willing to take an unpaid internship, or will you need one that comes with at least a small salary?

Again, compensation for internship opportunities can vary greatly. Decide what you can afford to live on (or not live on) before you get your heart set on anything. In addition, narrow your search parameters accordingly.

These are important factors to consider before you begin your search for a marketing internship and can save you a lot of unnecessary hand-wringing down the road.

Also, you may assume you don’t have any inside connections to an internship, but that may not be the case. In addition to conducting an online search and compiling possibilities, be sure to work all of your current social connections:

  • Professors and academic advisors
  • Former colleagues and co-workers
  • Family and relational connections

It could be that someone knows someone who’s looking for a fresh marketing intern.

Requirements for a Marketing Intern

While requirements often vary from position to position, most recruiters are looking for some combination of the following:

  • At least a BS in Marketing (or a relevant field)
  • Working knowledge of basic marketing techniques
  • Excellent communication, organization, and time-management skills
  • Proven competence with various computer software systems (particularly CRMs)
  • Knowledge of marketing tools such as tweet schedulers or other social media planners

marketing interns discussing their ideas during a team meeting

The Lasting Benefits of a Marketing Internship

While marketing internships are rarely lucrative experiences in and of themselves, the benefits of a marketing internship can last far beyond the bounds of the program itself.

  • Gain practical, hands-on experience
  • Build your core skills
  • Forge lasting relationships
  • Expand your professional network
  • Observe and learn from experts
  • Build your portfolio
  • Beef up your résumé or CV
  • Gain confidence in your abilities
  • Increase your odds of landing a permanent position

Furthermore, as we’ve already indicated, marketing internships are a great way to gain some hands-on experience and start your career in marketing.

If you’re ready to start considering an internship in marketing, be sure to check us out.

If you’re ready to take your first step toward your career in marketing by landing a marketing internship, visit Lensa’s authentic job search and discover the wide array of connections we have to offer.

Team Lensa
Team Lensa
Team Lensa is a group of HR specialists, career counselors, and tech enthusiasts dedicated to helping job seekers navigate the employment landscape through actionable tips and insights.

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